Evil Forces


This morning I am using a screenshot completely unrelated to anything that I am going to talk about just because I thought it looked cool.  Last night was that night we dread all year long…  the night we attempt to deal with Taxes.  Tax Season is sort of the boogie man for adults, with the IRS being the grim harbingers of our impending doom.  The truth is we have never really run into major issues with Taxes, and in spite of this…  I still get almost physically ill when I think about dealing with them.  We have our taxes done, because there is something about having the piece of mind that someone is obligated by contract to come defend you if you ever get audited…  and at least somewhat financially responsible if something bad comes up.  I realize in the internet age I should be able to deal with my own taxes rather easily… but it is just more comforting to hurl a stack of papers at someone else… flail my arms and expect them to make it all make sense.  Over the years we have gotten mildly better at getting our shit together, and have started a system that involves cramming everything that looks even vaguely tax related into a manila envelope.  For the most part this year… we were able to pull things together easy enough with only minimal last minute scramble to try and sort out the last few documents that we were missing.  The truth…  the fact that we did this pulling together act on a day other than the day we had our tax appointment… is a huge positive for us.  Traditionally right up until the very moment we are supposed to go we are flying through the house rooting through piles of paperwork looking for a golden ticket…  or in our case that receipt from some charitable giving.

The thing that always screws us over in the end, is the fact that we functionally have to pay taxes in two different states.  During the summer my wife works as an AP test grader…  which always occurs in another state and counts as income for said state.  So that means in the next few weeks we are going to have to do the whole money order/certified check thing… and get the stupid slip of paper mailed off to this other state and hope beyond hope that it gets there.  We are fine in the long run, having to pay both states as is usually the case and getting back some from federal so it works out in the end.  But I cannot explain how fundamental and deep to my very core this sense of panic is that I feel when we start discussing taxes.  I am wondering if this is just a me thing, or if literally everyone goes through this yearly hell.  Its like so rarely do you really actually have to confront a cold force that can literally ruin you… in quite the same fashion as the IRS could.  All of it seems to be buried in arcane formula, and calculations that only software actually understands… that feels like it could very well add up and say that you owe everything you have.  There are certain aspects of life that make complete and total sense to me… but the Tax code will never be one of them.  So instead we live in this state of augmented anxiety until finally we gather the courage…  or it gets late enough that we absolutely have to deal with them.

Then when they are over… there is this crashing wave of euphoria.  Like we just survived the fight of our lives and came out with most of our limbs intact.  So instead of heading home we went out to eat, to celebrate our victory.  Its like going home didn’t make sense after the epic battle we just survived.  So instead we went to one of our regular rotation of Mexican restaurants where I had a glorious feast of chicken, cheese and chorizo.  I am supremely disappointed in whoever coded the spell checker built into Windows because I am seeing a red squiggly line over chorizo… the most glorious of meats.  After dinner we wound up needing to make a quick trip to Walmart…  which for us is a once in a month occurrence because our local store is completely crazy.  After wandering around and looking for what we actually came for, we exited thirty to forty minutes later.  So by the time I fed the animals and changed into my comfy flannel pants…  I wound up getting home about an hour late for the Final Fantasy XIV raid night.  I had talked during the day about wanting to make an attempt on Diadem and they did in fact seem to be able to pull together the people for that.  Some folks even got some of the tasty 265 gear…. but not for the classes they were actually playing.  Final Fantasy XIV really needs to give us the ability to trade gear among a fixed party.  I wound up tagging in after Diadem for Thordan Extreme, of which we sort of figured out at least the first few phases of that dance.  It is going to be one of those fights where we simply have to memorize the pattern and make sure everyone makes it through each phase shift alive.  More than anything though… I am happy to have slain the tax beast at least for this one season.

2 thoughts on “Evil Forces

  1. The tax return thing in the US is something that has always puzzled me. In the UK you generally only have to do a tax return if you’re self-employed. My wife is and she does one every year (like you she hands it over to a professional) but I have always been employed by a company of some kind and as such I have never had to do any kind of tax return – it’s all handled automatically by my employer under what used to be (probably still is) kn own as P.A.Y.E (pay as you earn).

    As far as I know the huge majority of people in the UK are like me so the whole “annual tax return freakout” thing that comes up in so many American sitcoms and dramas is hard to relate to. Also, even for those like my wife who do have to do a tax return, I don’t think there is any of the fear of something awful happening that you describe and that so often is part of that narrative. It’s seen as a bit of a tedious chore but nothing more than that. I guess the I.R.S. is a lot more threatening as a an institution than H.M.R.C.
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  2. Ahhh taxes. Yeah, I know those feels. I recall the year we got married in October. We both made ok money. What we never expected was to the IRS, you were married the entire year. So add our two incomes together, and boom. There was much hand wringing and stress that year. And the next. It’s one of the little things that has carried over from years gone by where you had single income households. For us? TurboTax is our friend. The first year it was a bit intimidating. Having to fill in all the employer info etc. but now? Most information is auto filled. If your company does things electronically, it is part of a database. We have the usual, ourselves, mortgage, property taxes, donations. But while listing clothes and other donations can be tedious? It pays off. We had no idea until the first year I itemized it all, and saw $3500 in donations. I was in a panic. Surely we will be audited. I mean look at the refund. It’s more than we ever get. At the end it runs a check and gives you a risk level compared to others similar to you. We barely made a blip on the meter. So every year, we keep all the receipts, list out any clothes for Goodwill, or AMvets, Purple Heart etc. I follow the prompts, and when it’s done, the state takes a few minutes. All in all? About an hour. And I am now filing the first weekend you are allowed, and seeing the fed refund in two weeks or less.

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